“One photograph takes one 250th of a second to take, So if I have an exhibition that has 250 pictures, that is just one second! I have just one second to tell a story.”
“You can sit in your house and be a great writer, but with photography the story is outside the door. You have to go and you have to go far.”
“I stood up to take the picture and the tortoise became shy and walked away. So I had to get on my knees and lower my shoulders and it was only when I was at the same level as the tortoise that it would let me take photographs. It was then that I learnt that it was important I respect other species in the same ways I respected my own. This is not dead nature I was photographing.”
– Sebastião Salgado
I been sitting here like an hour just to figure out how I’m going to start this post. I wrote few lines, then I discarded it. Then I start again but lead to another blank page in the end. I hardly describe the beauty of this place just by the use of words. But the scenery, sounds & smells are still fresh in my head. You don’t have to agree with me, but when we can remember every details of certain things happened in our past, that was the point we were experiencing a “clear” mind, live in present, not in our past nor the future. In our daily life, we been clutter our mind with thousand of thought, thinking about our future & our past, but not many live in present including me. Anyway, I’ll leave that introduction of this post just like this as I can’t find the best word to fit that beautiful scenery. Thank you Azman Jumat & Rade for inviting me for this wonderful trip at Kota Belud
I went for mountain climb last October together with my fellow friends, Rade, Tokok, Rosli, Hatta and two lovely couple from Labuan. I’ve been working as tour guide for nearly 6 years in which i had explain and educate tourist to come again and climb mount Kinabalu. Its such irony to know that that was my first time climb our state (Sabah) most visited site which as enlisted as World Heritage Site by UNESCO November, 2000.
The decision to scale the mountain is generally not my idea, it comes accross after a good friend of mine, Rade asking me about the room availibility at Laban Rata (a resthouse which every climber should overnight before proceeding to the summit on the next morning, very early morning). Then things happens seems parallel when at the same time my brother announced climbing package with confirmed date. So we grab the package and thats how it began.
I’ve only managed to train physically just a few time in less than a month prior to the climbing date. I wouldn’t be able to have time for training if it wasn’t effort by Rade. For people that knows me well, i’m not physically fit, just imagine yourself carrying 25-30kg of additional weight all the time and that will be me.
We stayed at Rina Ria Lodge on our first night. This lodge locate about 500 metre from Kinabalu National Park. It provides several types of rooms, including dormitory. We were given quad room (4 person in a room). Free Wifi available at the cafe. If you forgotten to bring some of your climbing needs, you can get it here at their mini shops which happens to be their reception counter too.
On the next day, we had our breakfast at the cafe. We went straight to Kinabalu National Park, meet the 2 loving couple before proceeding for mountain climb registration. At Sutera Sanctuary Lodges reception counter, after providing their booking reference number, you will be handed meals coupons and a form which need to be submitted at Sabah Park’s counter located on the next building.
At Sabah Park’s counter is where you will get your climbing permit. Just a quick tips here, the machine that print the climbing permit are not designed for long name, ask the officer if it allowed to put your name as short as possible prior before the permit printed.
At the same counter, located next to the permit counter is the mountain guide counter. For every climber that climb mount Kinabalu, it is mandatory to hire mountain guide to go along with you. One mountain guide for every 7 climber. The porter service, on the other hand is optional. The charges for porter depends on the weight of your stuff with minimum weight of 10kg.
We the proceed to KOKTAS counter to arrange our transport to Timpohon Gate, which is the starting point of the climb. There are 2 starting point you can choose from, Timpohon & Mesilau, which the later longer than the first about 2km. Before we went to the Timpohon Gate, we went to Balsam Restaurant to take our packed meal which consist of Sandwich, Apple and drinking water. Balsam Restaurant located just in front of Sutera Sanctuary Lodges reception building. Well, you can only see the roof if you sanding exactly at the reception building.
It took about 10 minutes drive to reach Timpohon Gate. We were given safety briefing by our guide before we begin our journey scale the Majestic Mount Kinabalu on foot. The distance from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rate is 6km. There are rest hut along the trail almost every kilometre providing untreated water. I hiked every steps slowly as i need to store my energy on the second day climb, i must keep my self from any serious injury during the climb. Just about 1 hour of climbing, it was raining. The trail gets slippery with some trail looks like waterfall especially when reaching Villosa Hut & Paka Hut.
Along the summit trail, we have stopped on almost every resting hut just for 5-10 minute to at least drinks or just relax and keeping ourselves alive. Some of us even utilising this moment by posting an update through social media like facebook & instagram. We decide to have our packed meal at Layang-Layang Hut. Upon reaching at this point, we actually had gone almost 4km of the summit trail. Even the 2km to go seems to be much more nearer, but I’m really exhausted after this point. My leg began to sore, and every steps I took it seems to consume more and more energy, but I have no other choice than to finish what I just started, at least to make it to Laban Rata.
The rain continues until we reached Laban Rata Resthouse. It was 1620hrs now, I took about 7 hours to reach here. I can’t believe my self that i had finaly reach Laban Rata. My pants, socks and shoe were totaly wet, but that is not my main concern as I had another pair in my bag. The cafe will serving lunch at 1630hrs, its a buffet style, we decided to had our meals first before going to our room at Gunting Lagadan which is another 150m from Laban Rata. After the meal (the best lamb with black papper sauce I ever had), We spent about 3 hours at the cafe, endless hot coffee while enjoying beautiful sunset here. Everybody took photos with each other without even knowing who we are, and where we coming from, we have only one thing in common, that we had reached Laban Rata. It was the time of honouring ourselves as the inhabitants of Laban Rata of the day, who dare to go out from our comfort zone and seek for some adventure.
It was dawn and we need to use our headlamp to go to Gunting Lagadan. It took me nearly 20 minutes to reach there. It was cold and my legs start to sore. It was pleasure to know that there will be no more climbing for the day. Time to get good rest and rejuvenate. Like many of us, I didn’t take shower for the night as there were no hot shower. We stayed at quad dormitory bunk beds with sufficient power supply to charge our camera & phone. Well thats pretty long stories about my climbing experience, I will continue part two very soon.
Kota Belud located about 1.5 hour drive from Kota Kinabalu City towards Kudat. It is the home of the infamous Bajau Horsemen nicknamed “The Cowboy Of The East”. The main reason of the nickname given is they are the earliest Sabahan ethnic group ever recorded know how to ride a horse. Beside of that, Kota Belud is also well known for its “Tamu” (Sunday Market) and Mantanani Island. Along the way up to Kota Belud passing Tuaran, we can actually enjoy the breathtaking view of Paddy Field and The Majestic Mount Kinabalu.
Being tempted by Azman & Rade about their plan to shoot at Kota Belud, i can’t resist to not to join them. So last Sunday, we actually planned to start at 4am but delayed because of uncontrollable circumstances. I made excuses that my phone alarm was sabotaged by my wife. We missed the sunrise which is our main idea for the photo outing.
Anyway, this is some shot which I intended to highlight about a hut (local native called it as “Sulap”) at a paddy field somewhere in Tempasuk, Kota Belud. Sulap is multi-purpose space, it is the resting place, temporary hut for farming tools and a place to stay (when it near to harvesting season) where they will hold ropes which plastic bags were tied along the rope and produce noise to chase away the birds (Pipit).
- Kota Kinabalu Night Market
- Gaya Street Sunday Market
- Tailor At Handicraft Market Kota Kinabalu
- Tadau Kaamatan – Portrait Series
Buy Less Gear, Get A Book:
I can’t describe how i really love backlighting. When I travel around, I always scout the best place for backlighting. There are actually countless good backlighting spots between Kota Belud and Kudat. Most of the spots are located just by the road site, but we still need to enter locals compound to be able to get the best composition. Kota Belud offering backlight with paddy field and chances to get some nice reflection too. When i drive back and fourth to Kota Marudu from Kota Kinabalu, I always want to stop by and take some picture. Time constrains, bad weather and most often is to pass this route not at the right time are the reason why i still have no photo of it until today.
Anyway, these are some backlight shots i managed to get recently at Kg. Indrason, Matunggong.
About the pictures above, all are taken with available light. The trade off for backlighting is we can’t really preserve clouds detail and it will appeared clipping highlight in our histogram. Those images then post-prosessed in Lightroom with VSCO Film Pack 04 presets.
“The Kaamatan festival is an annual event in the cultural life of the Kadazandusuns of Sabah since time immemorial. In its deepest sense, Kaamatan festival is a manifestation of Creator and Creation relationship, as well as Inter-Creations relationship. It embodies the principal acts of invocation of divinities, appeasing, purification and restoration, re-union of benevolent spirits, and thanksgiving to the Source of All. It is part of a complex wholesome Momolian religious system centered on the paddy rites of passage and the life cycle of Bambarayon – the in-dwelling spirit of paddy”-wiki
The peak of Tadau Kaamatan is on 30th & 31st May, most of the time, the event took place at KDCA, Penampang. This is the only day where the traditional houses arround the KDCA are fully occupied by its own native with their traditional costume, products, and some even performing traditional dance. I live near to KDCA which is just 3-4 kilometer away but this is my first time to visit KDCA during Tadau Kaamatan after about 4 years live in this area. I just had about 2 hour to walk arround it before i need to leave to do other things. Tadau Kaamatan gives a lot of portrait opportunity which i have set my date to be here next year for 2 days. In the mean time, this is some of the portrait that i managed to shoot during my 2 hour visit.
Feel free to view more images in my flickr set